I have returned to the valley with its hot, dry and sunny days with open blue skies and cold nights filled with stars, after 4 weeks in the lush, green and wet UK. What a contrast! Here the ever present danger of consuming bush fires lurk. As the sun sets and dark creeps in we put on layers on layers of clothing. Luckily for me I have a welcome wood burning stove alongside which I can tuck up and keep warm and comfortable.

June is the usual TRC shut down month with minimal happenings with staff and residents taking leave, and animal owners leaving pets to carers. What a welcome on return!

Once again the alien tree felling project is due to get going again.  After the recruitment of 14 people, and training in May, nothing other than issuing of forms has happened, much to the disappointment of all. There seems to be some hold up with the equipment. For those few remaining in the valley it is a welcome opportunity of work for a year, but this has meant for us at TRC, a temporary trickle of some former residents back into the valley, of those who had relocated away from here.  We welcome the removal of the regrowth which has taken place since they last cleared a few years ago. Sadly, once again, they don’t seem to have the chain saws needed to fell the large trees remaining in the river beds.

The Modibate relocation has been on stand still as support funds had run out, and both myself and James, the drivers, have been away. Recently further funds from Rokpa International have arrived, so we will be once again assisting those in need.

The crèche which was relocated to the nearby community of Rietvaly, has had some hiccups in my absence, but after a useful meeting with the staff and some parents earlier this week, it will open again next week after the winter school holidays, with one change in staff. What is most needed at this stage is a boundary fence to demarcate the grounds, keeping the children safe, and hopefully stopping the many people who currently walk through the school grounds. Recent funds from Rokpa for this fence have arrived and a small local team will shortly begin with the construction.

There are ongoing meetings of the Marico Biosphere Reserve which I attend regularly. This is important for networking, and will hopefully raise the profile of the centre locally. One important issue which they are trying to address with the roads department is the bad access roads to places like ours, which is a huge deterrent for those with low slung city cars. It would be wonderful if they did manage to improve the road grading, and some even dream of eventually getting tarred road access, but in the current economic situation this is unlikely

It takes hardy folk to brave TRC in winter permanently, but for me it really has a unique beauty with its dry grass with occasional surprise of small gem-like flowers and the lovely winter aloes offering their unique colours. We do our best to heat the visitor areas, and we offer our nutritious, heartwarming soups in the main house in the evenings with the hot fire place, so do join us for up and coming events.

Pippa, July 2019